Inclusion, Diversity, and Belonging: What have we learned in 2021 so far?
At the end of last year we identified some pain points that we realized we needed to address. In this article, I will share 3 things we have done in the first 3-4 months of 2021.
1. Code of Conduct
Creating a safe space is not an easy job. One thing I’ve personally heard a lot was that Blinkist already provides a safe space. While many felt like this, I know personally from my own experience in any workplace that it is not always like that, especially for those who belong to underrepresented or non-underrepresented minority communities. As we grow and new people join Blinkist, we need to ensure that our expectations are clear and documented. Our way of experiencing the workplace is rather different from those who are in the majority group.
At Blinkist, our values shape our way of work as an organization. How we interact with and treat each other is directly shaped by the Blinkist value system, too. However, having values isn’t always enough—especially if we’re striving to create a truly inclusive organization.
We have a Code of Conduct not because we assume inappropriate behavior will happen but because we trust in the remarkable level of respect among our team and its members. We believe in making our values visible and actively lived, and we clearly define our responsibilities and accountabilities to each other as an explicit part of working for and with Blinkist.
If you want to learn more about our Code of Conduct, you can click here.
What did we learn? Make sure to create a document where expected and cautious behaviours are listed and this document is lived in your organisation. It’s really nice to have good presumptions but policies and written documents are often better to provide a safe space.
2. Learning Modules for Blinkist Employees
The last couple of months and years have been very intense for many underrepresented communities. I think a lot of people had this perception that this was something new but the intensity has been there for a very long time. One thing I personally found challenging was the continuous unpaid labor of educating people who are often in privileged positions about my experiences as an underrepresented minority.
To make sure we also educate our own team members and help them become informed allies, we have created 3 learning modules. These modules are on; Systemic Racism & Black Experience, Pride & LGBTQIA+ Experience, Anti-Asian Racism & Violence. We created these modules in the hope of supporting our Blinkist communities by sharing their stories and experiences but making sure our team members are learning constantly and becoming informed allies. We asked one simple question to our team members; how many minutes can you allocate a day to educate yourself on becoming an informed ally? We’ve created these learning modules for a duration of 2 weeks of time to start with our team members’ self-education.
This is an example outlook for our team members to pick what they want to learn. Once they click on their time preference, they automatically download a calendar of learning materials.
On this page, our team members would find resources that are collected and curated from other pages, such as blacklivesmatter.carrd.co, anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co, Instagram pages of activists, TED Talks, and our very own Blinks which are related to the topic.
What did we learn? At the workplace we often disregard the very personal experiences of our colleagues and team members. However, my identity doesn’t stop or pause when I enter the workplace, it continues and is still and always part of me. Learning and sharing such experiences are very helpful to create a safe space, especially for underrepresented and non-underrepresented minorities.
3. Diversity Reports for Circles
For almost 2 years, Blinkist has been gathering information on diversity and inclusion. We are trying to measure our belonging score, as well as diversity, voice, decision making, fairness, engagement, since we find these concepts very important and interlinked.
Our initial thoughts were that Blinkist overall was consisting of a team that is diverse and embraces different backgrounds, although not enough. However, we wanted to further investigate what does diversity mean when it comes to individual circles, teams, and levels. That is why this year, we have analyzed the diversity in 3 of our circles: Marketing, Engineering, and Content.
This was a great initiative, as the reports give the circles a clear idea of the consistency of their team, and how they could be limited because of the lack of diversity. Moving forward, we want to derive more tangible and actionable items to make sure all of our circles are inclusive and diverse. We can take these learnings to not only our Talent Acquisition processes but also in our team formation and development discussions.
What did we learn? Diversity metrics should be handled at the team level as sometimes you might have the perception that your company has a diverse team which might only fit into stereotypical constructs. The only way to deconstruct such structures is to analyze, realize and acknowledge them!
So what is next?
These are the 3 things we have done so far, and if there is one thing we learned, it’s the fact that we as an organization and as individuals always need to educate ourselves, and continue to learn. Moving forward to the next quarter, we want to make sure that we focus on inclusive leadership and continue educating our team members.